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Lawyers Give Closing Submissions on Cokanauto’s Rape Trial

State and defence lawyers yesterday filed their closing submissions in the trial of Pastor Jone Cokanauto of the Jezreel Lion of Judah church. The case is being heard by Judge,
23 Jun 2017 10:44
Lawyers Give Closing Submissions on Cokanauto’s Rape Trial
Jone Cokanauto outside the High Court in Suva on June 22, 2017. Photo: Jessica Savike

State and defence lawyers yesterday filed their closing submissions in the trial of Pastor Jone Cokanauto of the Jezreel Lion of Judah church.

The case is being heard by Judge, Justice Salesi Temo at the High Court in Suva.

Cokanauto faces multiple charges of rape and indecent assault.

Charges

Cokanauto is charged with three counts each of rape of the first victim. It is alleged to have happened between February 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006 at Taveuni and Nadera.

Cokanauto is again charged with one count each of rape and indecent assault of the second victim which is alleged to have happened between January 1, 2006 and July 31, 2012 at Taveuni and Nadera.

Cokanauto is further charged with one count each of rape and indecent assault of the third victim which is alleged to have happened between November 1, 2005 and December 31, 2005 at Nasinu.

He is also charged with one count of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault of the fourth victim which is alleged to have happened between February 1, 2006 and February 28, 2006 at Nadera.

State’s submission

State prosecutor Meli Vosawale, in his closing submission, said: “Little did they know that the man they looked up to preyed on the vulnerable women for his sexual pleasure.

“He is a lying, conniving and deceitful man.

“He distorted the Bible and its biblical truth and he is an insult to Christianity and every religious leader.”

He further said that the women believed that the redeeming process was a physical process.

“Each of them accepted the redeeming process and consented to the acts because it was his preaching that they believed.

“They were made to believe that it was something that had to be done,” he said.

It was stated by Mr Vosawale that the victims said that ‘it was a Godly journey and if they told anyone then they would die’.

He further stressed the importance of a church and that it was a place one resorted to, to find peace.

“One thing is certain that in the John 4, when the Samaritan woman left Jesus, she was left fulfilled and blessed but when the four women left the ministry, they left with scars,” said Mr Vosawale.

Defence’s submission

Defence lawyer Semi Valenitabua told the court that there were always two sides of a story and now Cokanauto’s story was complete.

Mr Valenitabua said:  “On all 10 counts, they have no counts to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

“The fourth victim became a reluctant witness and it tainted a hole in her and in my cross-examination she said she doesn’t know about the alleged acts.

“How can we be sure that count 8, 9 and 10 are true and are credible?”

He further told the court that this was a case concerning the words of the victim against the words of Cokanauto.

Mr Valenitabua told the court that Cokanauto preached to the whole congregation.

“They were not credible and should not be believed.

“What woman is raped in Nadera and follows the rapist to Taveuni and makes no Police complaint.

“We say the offence itself never took place and we are talking about four adult women who know what the role of a Police is and they should have lodged a complaint,” Mr Valenitabua said.

He stated to the court that Cokanauto never preached about sexual intercourse.

“If what they are saying is true then these adult women consented without any false representation,” he said.

The case has been adjourned for summing up today.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  jessica.savike@fijisun.com.fj



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